Tuesday, December 09, 2008

NBC Cuts 10PM From Primetime and Adds Jay Leno to 10PM; ABC Adds Special Wipeout on Super Bowl Sunday; 2009 WGA Awards Nominees

It is now official...Jay Leno will not move on to ABC and stay with NBC, but with a twist ... in primetime! Jay Leno will host a new comedy/talk show on NBC five nights a week in primetime, beginning in the fall of 2009. The show will originate from Burbank, Calif., and will air Monday through Friday, 10-11 p.m./9-10 p.m. CT. This show will be the first-ever entertainment program to be stripped across primetime on broadcast network television.
Leno will sign off as host of The Tonight Show on Friday, May 29, 2009. His new show will showcase many of the features that have made Leno America's late-night leader for more than a dozen years. Signature elements will include his opening monologue and well-known comedy segments "Headlines," "Jaywalking" and "Battle of the Jaywalking All-Stars."
As previously announced, Conan O'Brien will take over The Tonight Show hosting duties on Monday, June 1, 2009, broadcasting from the state-of-the-art studio currently under construction on the Universal lot. O'Brien will continue an unmatched late-night legacy that includes Steve Allen, Jack Paar, Johnny Carson, and, for the last 16 years, Jay Leno. Jimmy Fallon will assume the role of host of Late Night on March 2, 2009.
So what does this all mean? NBC is in terrible shape right now both in the ratings and financially. They have been stuck in 4th place in the ratings for some years now and recently many employees were laid off. With this move, NBC will slice off five-hours from their weeknight schedule and air the cheaper Leno series. The new Leno deal is up to 50 million a year for 5 years, while the show doesn't cost too much to produce so NBC will benefit from a financial aspect in this hour as shows like Law & Order and ER cost a lot to produce. This means many primetime shows on NBC could be cut next fall. Many of them could be veteran series. Nothing has been officially announced as dead yet but series such as Kath & Kim, My Name is Earl, Knight Rider, Life, and Friday Night Lights could be cut, while Chuck, Medium, and the original Law & Order series could go either way. ER is already ending this season, so that will obviously be gone, while Lipstick Jungle is canceled and the cheap Crusoe is also canceled despite low production costs but the ratings were terrible. And if Heroes continues its downward trend, NBC could cut it also as that series costs a lot to make. Law & Order: SVU, The Biggest Loser, The Office, are some of the series likely to remain on NBC.
There is word also that NBC could give Saturday nights back to their affiliates to program. So that would be another three-hours that NBC could lose. As of now, they will only program 17 hours a week, and could be as low as 14 if they lose Saturday. That would be lower than Fox, which has 15.
What do I think? I think this is great for Jay Leno and I am happy for him but what is NBC thinking? I know they have to cut costs and stuff, but there is no way they can expand on finding hits without the 10pm hour. Leno gets 4 million or so in late night and will likely go up a bit in primetime, but every weekday it will get tiresome. Leno will have to face entertainment dramas and not go up against similar late night shows. This also could hurt NBC's other late night shows, as now they will have yet another one. They already have The Tonight Show, Late Night, and Last Call. Four talk shows in one night? You can expect ABC and CBS's 10pm shows to rise next fall without NBC. It is still not known though if NBC will even count Leno's series in their primetime averages. NBC's 10pm shows the last few years have been a bright spot for them with series such as Law & Order: SVU, Law & Order, Medium, and even ER doing higher ratings than anything from 8-10pm. It is not a guarantee they can just move down an hour and generate the same ratings. Law & Order moved to Wednesdays at 9 a few years ago and got crushed by Criminal Minds on CBS, and was quickly moved back to 10pm. NBC has made some weird moves lately and have already back-fired. Last development season, they eliminated the expensive pilot process, a move that saved money but backfired after all of its fall shows flopped, such as My Worst Own Enemy. They picked-up series without actually seeing a pilot. Also, their "infront" last April was a total bust. They announced line-ups for Fall 2008, Winter/Spring 2009 and Summer 2009 in advance, and ended up changing the schedule around anyway. What is the point to all this NBC? Stick with tradition and get yourself back on track by trying to find quality shows instead of giving up. Just my two cents.

The news gets worse for NBC. ABC has announced it plans to counter program NBC's Super Bowl entertainment telecasts with a sports-star-studded episode of the summer obstacle-course megahit Wipeout.
ABC will air a brief football-themed Wipeout special against NBC's official halftime show headlined by Bruce Springsteen. Then, during NBC's post-Super Bowl presentation of The Office," ABC will air an hour-long Wipeout in which cheerleaders compete against male "couch potato" sports fans.
The two-part ABC special, "Wipeout Superball Sunday," pulls out all the stops to cater to NFL fans: Hall of Famer Michael Irving will lend sideline commentary, the Navy's Blue Angels will perform a flyover, the USC marching band will storm the course, contestants will run a gantlet with quarterbacks pelting them with footballs, NFL luminaries will stop by the commentary booth, and the show's signature Big Balls obstacle has been converted into jumbo-sized footballs, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The special is one of the most ambitious Super Bowl Sunday programming plans ever mounted by a non-host network. Yet for the reality show's producer, Endemol, it's familiar territory. In 2002, NBC enjoyed some of Fox's big game thunder by airing a special episode of the Endemol-produced Fear Factor featuring Playboy Playmates as contestants against the halftime show. Fear Factor did 11.4 million viewers that night. The family-friendly Wipeout could attract even more.
ABC plans to air repeats of Wipeout against the game directly itself, with AFV encore from 7-8pm ET. The Super Bowl starts at about 6:30, and the halftime show will likely be around 8pm so the Wipeout halftime special will air then, then they will air two Wipeout repeats from about 8:30ish-10:30ish, before the hour Wipeout special at about 10:30 against The Office. Wipeout will return as a series this summer for a second season. Goodnight and big balls!

Finally, we leave you today with the nominations for the 61st Annual WGA Awards. Comedy wise, 30 Rock, Entourage, The Office, The Simpsons and Weeds were nominated for their writing work. While Dexter, Friday Night Lights, Lost, Mad Men and The Wire took writing nominations for dramas. Among the other categories, Life on Mars and Breaking Bad were among the nominees for best new series, Ugly Betty, Eli Stone, 30 Rock, and The Office were among the nominees for actual episodic writing.
View the full nominees.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (February/March)

227 - The Complete First Season (Mill Creek) Fuller House - The Complete First Season The Jamie Foxx Show - The Complete Second Season What I Like About You - The Complete Second Season Newhart - The Final (Eighth) Season

02/07 - Sabrina, the Teenage Witch - Sabrina Down Under
02/07 - So Little Time - Volume 1 - School's Cool - Boy Crazy
02/07 - So Little Time - Volume 2 - About a Family - Hangin' Out
02/07 - 227 - The Complete First Season (Mill Creek)
02/07 - Vice Principals - The Complete First Season (Blu-ray)
02/14 - Beavis and Butt-Head - The Complete Collection
02/14 - Grace and Frankie - Season Two
02/28 - Fuller House - The Complete First Season
03/03 - The Dick Van Dyke Show - Now... In Living Color! (Blu-ray)
03/07 - The Jamie Foxx Show - The Complete Second Season
03/07 - Mama's Family - Mama's Favorites
03/07 - That '70s Show - The Complete Series - Flashback Edition (Blu-ray)
03/07 - What I Like About You - The Complete Second Season
03/07 - You Me Her - Season One
03/14 - Newhart - The Final (Eighth) Season
03/14 - Unbrekable Kimmy Schmidt - Season Two
03/21 - Master of None - Season One
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Sunday, March 26

The Simpsons - "Dad Behavior" (Fox, 7:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Homer finds a new app that makes his life much easier and outsources his father-son bonding. Meanwhile, Grampa finds that he is about to be a father again.

Bob's Burgers - "Aquaticism" / "Ain't Miss Debatin'" (Fox, 7:30PM ET/PT)
When Tina learns that the aquarium is in danger of closing, the Belcher children devise a scheme to keep it running. Meanwhile, Bob realizes that he could learn a thing or two from Linda’s customer service skills. Then, when Tina is recruited by the debate team, she finds unexpected success and an even more unexpected relationship. Meanwhile, Louise and Gene convince their parents to help fund a stop-motion movie focusing on a surprising subject matter.

Making History - "Chadwick's Angels" (Fox, 8:30PM ET/PT)
In need of a victory, the trio heads back to the 1990s to give Dan another shot at his childhood dream: finishing the infamous “Bellybuster” ice cream sundae at a local parlor. As Deb bonds with the parlor’s owner, Chris is on a mission to save a life in honor of his late British friend. But all of their plans are derailed when Dan runs into the bully that tormented him.

Family Guy - "Peter's Lost Youth" (Fox, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Peter gets jealous of Lois when she upstages him at a Red Sox fantasy baseball camp. Meanwhile, Stewie runs away from home when Meg is left to babysit him.

The Last Man on Earth - "Find This Thing We Need To" (Fox, 9:30PM ET/PT)
Carol makes a big discovery, enlisting Tandy and Erica to help her track down some answers. Meanwhile, Todd has a major breakthrough with Melissa.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of March 27)

Sunday, March 26

  • Sanaa Lathan (Family Guy/The Cleveland Show/LateLine) - Catch Sanaa on Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
Monday, March 27
  • Chris Pratt (Parks and Recreation) - Watch Chris on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Richard Dreyfuss (Your Family or Mine) - Richard appears on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Lily Tomlin (Grace and Frankie/Malibu Country) and Jane Fonda (Grace and Frankie) - Lily and Jane are guests on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS. They also chat with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Craig Ferguson (The Drew Carey Show) - Craig visits Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC. He will also be on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.
  • Rachel Dratch (Imaginary Mary) - Rachel is a guest on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Pete Holmes (Crashing) - Pete stops by The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Jenna Elfman (Imaginary Mary/1600 Penn/Accidentally on Purpose/Courting Alex/Dharma & Greg) - Jenna appears on Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Ron Funches (Powerless/Undateable) - Ron is a guest on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
  • Kaitlin Olson (The Mick/It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia) - Kaitlin drops by Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Wendi McLendon-Covey (The Goldbergs/Rules of Engagement/Reno 911!) - Wendi appears on a repeat of Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
  • Lisa Kudrow (Friends/The Comeback) - Lisa is a guest on LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
  • Mark Consuelos (Alpha House/Hope & Faith) - Mark guest co-hosts LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
  • Tahj Mowry, Derek Theler and Jean-Luc Bilodeau (Baby Daddy) - Tahj, Derek and Jean-Luc are guests on Harry, so check your local listings.
  • Tika Sumpter (The Game) - Tika appears on a repeat of The Real, so check your local listings.
  • Vanessa Bell Calloway (Rhythm & Blues) - Vanessa is a guest on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • June Diane Raphael (Grace and Frankie) - June talks about Grace and Frankie on NBC's Today in the 9am hour.
  • Melissa McCarthy (Mike & Molly/Samantha Who?) and Ben Falcone (Joey) - Melissa and Ben talk TV Land's Nobodies on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.
  • Brooklyn Decker (Grace and Frankie/Friends with Better Lives) - Brookyln stops by People Now at 8:30am.
  • Marcia Gay Harden (Trophy Wife) - Marcia opens up about her favorite part of being in the 50 Shades movies on People Now at 8:30am.
  • \
  • Tracee Ellis Ross (black-ish/Girlfriends) - Tracee dishes about her Golden Globe win on a repeat of The Wendy Williams Show at 2am on BET or on your local stations.